|Australia Fair: "Mary's a Saint"|
|Written by Sherry|
|Friday, 19 February 2010 07:56|
This is how the Australian put it this morning: "Mary's a Saint!"
Mary MacKillop will be canonized October 17. Wonderful.
I was just re-reading her biography a week ago. Being ex-communicated early on by her ordinary was just the beginning of her troubles! Amazing what a mentally ill co-founder, sisters with bizarre spiritual manifestations, severe poverty and begging to sustain her community's many schools and Providences for the poor, the open hostility of several bishops, the rumor mill, a series of mysterious illnesses, and constant travel can do to a girl.
Thank God she didn't live in the age of the internet. In her day, the rumors could only fly as fast as the 19th century Australian postal system.
I kept wanting to hear more about the fruit of the her schools and other works for the poor for those they served but I've noticed that biographies of saints seldom address the fruit of their work. Biographies written to support a canonization process naturally focus on Mary's life, not her mission. And Mary's letters are naturally, largely concerned with administration and the need to responding to the sea of troubles that she and her sisters faced. But since Mary became a saint in the course of founding a religious congregation to answer a particular call, it would seem most appropriate to ask what God seems to have done through that call as well as within Mary herself.
(I know that the recognizable "impact" of a saint's ministry is not a part of the criteria for canonization but it is, nevertheless, part of the saint's story. Because part of the story is what God was doing in and through them for others. There is a vast storehouse of apostolic wisdom hidden in what saints did in response to the needs of their time and that we could learn from today. But the biographers of saints spent little or no time on such things.)
Like Mary Ward, Mary MacKillop's unfailing faith, graciousness, and serenity under a cascade of troubles was one of the primary signs of her sanctity. Both Mary's and the women who joined their communities suffered greatly from the public hostility of bishops, doubts about their fidelity, the rumor mill, and a struggle with constant poverty. And yet, they remained heroically constant and forgiving.
MacKillop was very compassionate toward others who suffered or struggled. She understood with all her being what it was like.